Déjà vu: Why I am strongly against our signing the Paris climate deal
‘The reality is that this is a deal crafted to suit the United States, China, and other big emitters’
Published at Rappler
November 06, 2016
On the Paris Climate Agreement, I beg to disagree with the assertion that it is a milestone on the way to stopping or slowing down climate change. This is propaganda. The reality is that this is a deal crafted to suit the United States, China, and other big emitters to legitimize their stubborn refusal to make the very deep cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions that are necessary to prevent the global mean temperature from going beyond 2 degrees Celsius that would bring about massive cataclysmic changes in the climate.
Owing to pressure from the big emitters, what we have in the Paris Agreement are not obligatory commitments to cut emissions but non-binding voluntary “intended nationally determined contributions.” Indeed, even before the Paris negotiations, the US and China had already made a separate deal that undermined the multilateral process: their non-binding deal exempted China from reducing its emissions until 2030 and committed the US to a miserly 26% to 28% emissions cut from 2005 levels! Practically all serious climate scientists have already denounced these so-called commitments as grossly inadequate in the light of drastic weather changes that are just around the corner.
Instead of a robust financing mechanism to assist poor countries adjust to climate change, we have a Green Climate Fund that is starved of funds and to which contributions by the developed (Annex 1) countries are indeterminate and voluntary. And while the Agreement rhetorically recognizes that developing countries have been damaged by the emissions of the rich countries, it also says that the so-called Loss and Damage provision “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”
What the Paris deal is partial to are schemes favored by corporations like carbon trading, carbon offsets, and tree planting programs like REDD+. These are false solutions that only deflect attention from the need for deep binding commitments by the developed countries.
We are back in 1994, when we warned against ratifying the World Trade Organization agreement, but the Ramos administration went ahead and ratified it, saying not ratifying it would cut the Philippines off from the rest of the world and calling opponents like me all sorts of names. Twenty-two years later, our agriculture and industry have been destroyed by the trade liberalization that ensued, and indeed, the consensus of developing countries now is that the WTO simply functioned as a mechanism for the North to resubordinate the rising economies of the South. Now the same Fidel Ramos is again calling on the government to approve another unequal agreement!
We cannot afford to make the same mistake.
I don’t know and don’t care to know why President Rodrigo Duterte is opposed to signing the Paris Agreement. All I know is that whoever were the head of state today, I would recommend against signing the deal. Indeed, if the Philippine government does not sign on, this would encourage other developing country governments to withhold their signatures and expose the fact that the emperor wears no clothes.
No deal is better than a bad deal, and the Paris Climate Agreement is a bad deal. – Rappler.com
A climate advocate, former congressman Walden Bello was one of the leaders of the national movement against the ratification of the World Trade Organization Agreement in 1994.
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